Last month I wrote a super angry poem for my poetry group. It was confused and ranty and not very good. I can look at it now and see that. I had massaged it so that I could keep a couple of lines I was really enamoured of, at the expense of content. The group was very supportive, they gave constructive feedback and were very kind in their framing, even though the poem was really bad.
Intellectually I know that there will be versions of things, or whole pieces that simply aren’t suitable for public consumption. Whether they’re built on flawed premises, or they don’t really make sense, or they’re just a bit crappy. I have to be better at letting them go.
Emotionally I get attached to things. I want things to be good. I want all my darlings to take glorious flight into the world and resonate with other people. But that’s not how life works. Some stuff is great, other stuff is okay, some stuff is terrible. That’s how things are. With practice, the proportions are more skewed to great, but nothing is guaranteed.
I think this is what killing your darlings is about. It’s about learning to see which work needs to be persevered with, and which should just serve as an exercise and be put away in a drawer. With a lock on it. Like all of my angsty teen poetry, which still exists on the internet unfortunately, but I’m certainly not giving any of you the link!
In other news I’m gearing up for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. I hope to post a few little reviews here for the shows I get along to – I have four booked in so far!